Early each spring, the members of Detachment 685’s Silver Talons Drill Team get the opportunity not only to be reminded of what the sun looks like, but also to compete nationally against almost 1000 other cadets and midshipmen testing military bearing, knowledge, dress, and ceremonies. In March of every year, University of Southern California hosts the Southern California Invitational Drill Meet (SCIDM) where full armed teams compete in three categories (regulation, inspection, and exhibition) and honor guard groups perform color guard and 4-man exhibition. Each event emphasizes different aspects of military traditions. This trip is the topic of many conversations and arouses excitement amongst the detachment each year as cadets either prepare to return, attend for the first time, or reminisce from their own experience. Cadets going for their first time are never quite sure what to expect other than a good time, and sophomores go to make even more memories and mentor the “youngin’s”.
The team starts off the trip with a 16-hour car ride where cadets get a chance to know the people around them in a much more relaxed environment, and friendships have a chance to strengthen and grow. Once in SoCal, the cadets find time to sneak in extra practices, but also get a chance to walk the boardwalks, play on the beach, and go out to dinner with the group. And then the competition starts, where months of long hours practicing, sometimes as early as 5am, finally pays off.
This year, the Oregon State University’s Silver Talons Drill Team over came countless obstacles throughout their competition season, with losing members and constantly struggling to find practice space, yet they managed to come back with not one, but two trophies. The team fought their way to the top getting first place in regulation, inspection, helping them also bring home the 1st place overall award.
So, congratulations to the Silver Talons Drill Team for their astonishing accomplishment, and making not only the detachment, but the school proud.
“Looking back, the Southern California Invitational Drill Meet was undoubtedly the most fun I've had this past year. Between the 17-hour car rides, the sunny day at the beach, and the competition, this will definitely be an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. Even the parts of the trip that seem like they would be the most boring were fun. As a team, we made the most of every moment, and I feel that we have bonded in a way that would have not been possible with our trip to SCIDM. The only negative thing I can about our trip was that it wasn't long enough.”
-Jeremy T., STDT
“I had heard from older cadets that SCIDM would be one of the best weekends of my year. I had a hard time believing that a 17-hour van ride to Los Angeles would qualify, but I was proven wrong. All of the jokes that were made, the songs that were sung, and the beautiful views made SCIDM 2013 a memorable experience. The adversity our team was able to overcome over the course of one week was incredible so when we received that first place trophy, it was more than just a sign of the execution of our performance but also a symbol of the strength of our team. All of our hard work had paid off. I will always remember this season for its extreme ups and extreme downs and how we powered through and became the champions of SCIDM 2013.”
-Rachel N., STDT
“This year was my second time attending the Southern California Invitational Drill Meet to compete. I knew what to expect as far as how the meet was ran and the location, but it is always a different experience each year because of the new cadets around you. The part I most enjoyed about my SCIDM experience this year as well as the honor guard year as a whole was how close we all came together and how much we bonded as a team. At the beginning of the year, I didn’t know very much about my teammates Nick M. and Kevin D., but after all we have been through we are definitely very good friends”
-Matthew L., Honor Guard